Category Archives: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Strickland Trial: Day 1

Michael Strickland is on trial in a  Multnomah County courtroom on a 21 count felony indictment for pulling his gun in self defense at a group of anarchists rushing him at a protest.

Strickland, who’s a journalist working for his own news platform called “Laughing at Liberals” as well as doing occasional work for another online news publication, recorded the July Black Lives Matter/Don’t Shoot PDX event July 7, 2016.

Day one of the trial saw arguments about admissible evidence and jury selection.

Quite a bit of discussion centered on legal distinctions between possession of a weapon and carrying a weapon.

While previous works by Strickland were ruled as inadmissible for some reason, the prosecution got into evidence the  number of magazines the journalist had in his possession when he was arrested.

They undoubtedly hope to depict the Portland man as a crack pot who came to murder a bunch of people that day.

But Strickland had been to this rodeo before. There’s plenty of evidence, though now it may not be admissible, showing him hassled and threatened by protesters before–sometimes within an inch of his nose as someone yelled in his face–while continuing to record.

It’s one of the reasons why the protesters, and a particular anarchist contingent, don’t like him. He records their activities–holds up a mirror–and they feel stupid.

The prosecution also hopes to depict him as a crack pot gun nut with a camera–not a journalist.

To that end, prosecutors Kate Molina and Todd Jackson hope to leave the impression that Strickland is somehow a “protester,” which is something that is clearly not true. If he’s a protester then every camera operator and reporter covering protests are too.

He wasn’t assaulted, pushed and hit with anarchists sticks because he was a “protester,” he was assaulted and they came back to do him harm again because he was a journalist who recorded their activities and they didn’t like it. 

Already the “protester” label has found its way into Portland media. While listening to KXL Monday afternoon, the anchors twice called Strickland a “protester.” See a letter I sent to KXL on this matter below.

Strickland knew enough about what this group was capable of that he often wore his legal, licensed concealed hand gun in the off chance that someday he’d need it. That day came last July 7th.

As a marauding group of anarchists came at him, he pulled his gun and kept them from hurting him.

Now he’s on trial for his freedom.

Jury selection began from a group of 40 citizens. It continues today.

In the chambers to support Strickland were former U.S. Senatorial candidate Mark Callahan, who’s a friend of Strickland’s; science writer, former local TV newsman and retired commercial airline pilot, Chuck Wiese; and local businesswoman Kathleen Worman.

Letter to KXL:

Hello,

Victoria Taft here. I’m writing in my capacity as a journalist, indeed a former local president of a Society of Professional Journalists chapter, a working journalist and as a radio host.

I listened to your coverage of the Michael Strickland case on KXL in the 5pm hour of Monday and noticed you referred to him as a “protester.”

Strickland is not, nor has ever been, a “protester.” He runs a news platform called “Laughing at Liberals” on YouTube and has been a writer for Progressives Today, a news platform. He’s a working journalist–or at least was, until the prosecutors ordered him to stop doing his job.

The prosecution in this case has sought to depict Strickland as a “protester” to marginalize his rationale for being at the protest July 7, 2016 in his role as a reporter.

Prosecutors seek  to make the case that somehow he’s some nut case with a gun who came to shoot people. That’s absurd on its face. He brought his legal, licensed concealed handgun to protect himself from a cadre of anarchists beelining to hurt him and who, indeed, had already assaulted him on that day.

He’s been covering these folks for years without incident.

It’s a darned good thing he had his weapon with him last July or we’d be reporting on fund raisers to pay for his hospital bills or something equally horrific.

By your choosing to use the untrue and prejudicial words of the deputy district attorney who’s trying to put this citizen journalist in prison for 50+ years, you belie your  “objective” stance in the case.

Please correct the record and henceforth use the word “journalist” to describe Strickland, since that’s what he is.

Thank you for your kind attention to this important matter.

Victoria Taft 

See my previous posts on this case here:

Protesters to Strickland: ‘Snitches Get Stitches’

Violent Protesters Show EXACTLY Why Strickland Carried Gun to Cover Protests

Journalist Charged With Pulling Gun to Stop Anarchist Attack Denied Change of Venue From Anti-Gun Portland

‘He Makes Fun of Us:’Reason Why Anarchists Conspired to Attack Strickland at Portland Protest

Bomb Threats, Activism, Anarchy: ‘Victim’ in Strickland Gun Case Is a Convicted Liar

Witness Against Strickland In Gun Case Is Federal Felon; Anarchist

Strickland Hearing Postponed till Monday

Strickland Hearing Today & the Defense Has a Surprise for the DA

Strickland Indicted on Gun Charges; Ham Sandwich Next In Line

Watch This Guy Advance on Mike Strickland Right Before He Pulled Gun At BLM Protest

Strickland’s Gun Case Similar to Portland Case That Just Ended In Not-Guilty Verdict

“Self Defense”: Lefty Videographer at BLM Protest Told Cops Twice That PDX Reporter Mike Strickland Drew Gun In Self Defense

The Exoneration of Portland Citizen Journalist Mike Strickland, ‘Laughing at Liberals.’

Citizen Journalist James O’Keefe Spotlights Mike Strickland Case

Protester Going After Mike Strickland Was “Black Panther” Calling for Violence & Gun Play Before #BLM March

Portland Citizen Journalist Banned From Portland Campuses That Frequently Welcomed Radicals & Even Domestic Terrorists

Here’s What 4 Cops & a 2-A Activist Saw When They Watched ‘Man Pulls Gun on PDX Protesters’ Video

 

 

Rees Lloyd’s Liberty Milestone: Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial — Saved ‘As it is, Where it is”!

Great news: The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA, has been purchased — and hopefully thereby saved …

Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
…  “as it is, where it is,” with Cross intact, for generations of Americans to come —  by the non-profit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association from the federal Department of Defense.
 
The Memorial Association announced on Monday, July 21, 2015, that its purchase of the Memorial for $1.4-million was finalized on July 17. This effectively transferred ownership of the memorial site honoring veterans from “public land” under federal ownership to “private land” of the Association, a non-governmental, non-profit, private organization. The Association has maintained the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial since its founding in 1954 in conjunction with  wartime veterans of American Legion La Jolla Post  275.
 
Originally established to honor Korean War Veterans, it was expanded to honor all veterans, especially those who gave their lives in defense of American freedom. The Memorial is on land originally owned by the City of San Diego, which was transferred to the federal DOD in 2006. It now has some 3,500 plaques on tiered walls beneath a 29-foot cross honoring all veterans atop Mt. Soledad. (See, www.soledadmemorial.com.)
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
 
The secular extremist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been suing for some twenty-six (26) years now to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial on the basis that the Cross honoring veterans there has been on “public land” and, therefore, violates the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. However, it is now on “private land.” That has an enormous impact on the ACLU’s lawsuit, which is again  pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
 
The DOD was authorized to sell the Memorial to the  Association by the National Defense Act of 2015,  adopted by House and Senate and signed by President of Obama last December.
 
That legislation was the result of a bill initiated by Congressman Duncan Hunter, former U.S. Marine combat veteran who represents the District  and who has led the effort in Congress to save the memorial.
Photo: Politico
Photo: Politico
 
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the ACLU  in the similar case of Buono vs. Salazar, commonly known as the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross Case. There, the ACLU sued in 2002  to destroy a veterans memorial established by VFW members to honor WWI veterans in 1934. ACLU sued because it included a cross on a rock outcrop on federal land in the remote Mojave Desert Preserve. ACLU sued even though there was no complaint in some 70 years, and the Cross was twelve miles off the highway and a person had to drive to it to be offended by it. 
Photo: Cafe Press
Photo: Cafe Press
 
After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ordered the the Mojave Cross had to be destroyed, Congress voted to exchange that one-acre site for five acres of private land donated by Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who had cared for the memorial for decades. Since the Cross was now on private land, the Supreme Court nullified the 9th Circuit decision that the Establishment Clause was violated and remanded the case. ACLU finally surrendered on remand in 2012, announcing in court it  would cease attempting to destroy the cross.
 
While there is no way to know to a certainty whether the ACLU will finally cease its quarter-century of litigation to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial now that it is on private land, the Association, and those public interest law firms who have been representing veterans against the ACLU’s lawsuits, have hailed implementation of Duncan Hunter’s land-transfer legislation as signaling that the memorial will at last remain “as it is, where it is” without further successful litigation molestation by the ACLU.
 
Bruce Bailey, President and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association board of trustees, said:
“I am honored to be leading our Association at this most significant time in our Memorial’s history. It marks for the first time where our membership can manage the Memorial’s affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the Association.”
 
Reacting to the news of the transfer to the Association of the Mt. Soledad Memorial originally founded by the local American Legion La Jolla Post 275 more than a half-century ago,  American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said he hoped it would end the litigation attacks of the ACLU:
 
“Frankly, it shouldn’t have been necessary for the government to sell the land to a private group in order to preserve a memorial that is deeply significant to so many people. The American Legion believes in ‘God and Country.’ Unfortunately, some courts don’t always see it that way. “
(For the full response of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, see http://www.legion.org/news/229284/legion-praises-mt-soledad-memorial-association-saving-cross#sthash.NJwI7zy1.dpuf
Liberty Institute, based in Texas, represents the Memorial Association against the ACLU in the present Mt. Soledad case pending in the 9th Circuit. LI issued a statement that “after a 25-year legal battle, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is finally saved…[it] ends a legal dispute regarding the constitutionality of the memorial on government land.”
Photo: Liberty Institute
Photo: Liberty Institute
 
Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Deputy Chief Counsel, said:
“The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross has stood since 1954 as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Such a sacred memorial should receive our highest honor and protection. Today’s actions will ensure that the memorial will continue to stand in honor of our veterans for decades to come. This is a great victory for the veterans who originally placed this memorial and the Korean War veterans the memorial honors. We thank our lead counsel, Allyson Ho, and her team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who worked tirelessly to defend the memorial, leading to this ultimate victory.”
(For more information, www.LibertyInstitute.org.)
 
Charles S. LiMandri, President and Chief Counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), has actively participated in efforts to maintain the Memorial Cross “as it is, where it is” since 2004.  The FCDF, along with Attorney Peter Lepiscopo, represents Congressman Duncan Hunter. 
 
LiMandri, who has been credited with doing more than any other single person to save the Mt. Soledad Cross,  said of the Memorial’s transfer to the Association:
“We are delighted that the longest running religious liberty case is coming to a successful conclusion after 26 years.  Any future legal challenge to the transfer of the Memorial property from the federal government to the Memorial Association is likely to fail in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. 700 (2010), which approved trade of federal property to private ownership for the purpose of preserving the Mojave Memorial Cross. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund extends its hearty congratulations to the Memorial Association and its counsel.”
(For more on FCDF, see www.ConscienceDefense.org.)
 
Joseph Infranco is Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and co-founder, with me, of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of The American Legion Dept. of California and the Alliance Defending Freedom. 
 
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
He said of the transfer of Mt. Soledad to the Memorial Association:
“Monuments that honor the very people who have fought and died to protect our freedoms should be preserved in the best possible way. Though perhaps understandable, it’s unfortunate that Congress felt forced to take the safe route of a land transfer to protect this cherished memorial. Memorial crosses on government land honoring those who served and died are not an establishment of religion any more than the memorial crosses that grace Arlington National Cemetery. Nonetheless, all should take some comfort that the Mount Soledad Memorial will be  well cared for and free from the illegitimate attacks of those who have sought to uproot it.  We trust that this move will allow the memorial and its cross to be enjoyed and revered for generations to come.”
(For more on ADF, see www.adflegal.com)
 
Our Defense of Veterans Memorials Project was created, and first became involved in litigation combatting the ACLU in 2006 when a U.S. District Court ordered the City of San Diego to destroy the Mt. Soledad Cross within 90-days or it would impose a fine of $5,000 per day. We entered the litigation to support Attorney Chuck LiMandri who at the time was carrying the legal battle against ACLU almost alone. 
Mt Soledad Freedom Isnt Free
 
To the shock of most in the legal community, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay order preventing destruction of the Cross after the Ninth Circuit had denied a stay order pending appeal. 
 
The Memorial was saved at the time by passage of the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial Protection Act of 2006, which transferred Mt. Soledad from the City of San Diego to the federal DOD. This effectively nullified the U.S. District Court’s destruction order, since that case was tried under the California Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. That Mt. Soledad Protection Act passed the House overwhelmingly, and the U.S. Senate without objection, including no objection by then Sen. Barack Obama. 
 
Then-President George W. Bush signed the Mt. Soledad Protection Act into law. Attorney Charles LiMandri, because of his singular and remarkable pro bono efforts to save the Cross was invited by President Bush to attend the signing ceremony.
 
Now, with the Mt. Soledad Memorial again facing destruction by the ACLU’s lawsuit, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a combat Marine, has led the effort in Congress to authorize a transfer of Mt. Soledad by sale into the private hands of the Memorial Association, as Congress did in the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross case (Buono vs.Salazar).
 
This may or may not deter the ACLU in its secular-cleansing, cross-destroying fanaticism, even to the point of attacking veterans memorials. If it does not, those who have fought to preserve Mt. Soledad will continue to fight, as long as it takes, to prevent the desecration of it or any veterans memorials by intolerant extremists epitomized by the ACLU, which, in my opinion, has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism.
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
 
As co-founder with Joe Infranco of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project, I thank Joe Infranco and all at ADF; Hiram Sasser, Kelly Schackleford, and all at Liberty Institute; Chuck LiMandri and all at Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; Attorney Pete Lepiscopo; Congressman Duncan Hunter; and all of who have fought so long and so hard to save Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “as it is, where it is,” and as it was intended to be by the American veterans who founded it to honor their comrade veterans.
 
This thanks includes American Legionnaires in California who have continued to fight against the ACLU. They have, among other things, established plaques at Mt. Soledad honoring Maj. General Patrick H. Brady (USA, ret., Medal of Honor, Vietnam); Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton (USN, ret.; Navy Cross, POW for seven years/seven months in Vietnam); Legendary Legionnaires Leo Burke (USMC, WWII), and Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo (USN, WWII); and, on February 3, 2014, the Immortal Four Chaplains. (See, attached photo of California Legionnaires at Four Chaplains ceremonies beneath the Cross at Mt. Soledad, joined by former Navy Seal Larry Wilske (ret.), now Executive Secretary of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association.)
Photo: Free Republic
Photo: Free Republic

 

I thank them all for fighting as Patton taught—“Audacity, Audacity, Always Audacity;” and staying the course as Churchill taught:
“Never give up. Never, never, never give up.”
 
As veterans, and as patriots, we must not, we will not, allow desecration  of memorials honoring veterans, no matter how offensive those memorials may be to enemies of America, foreign or domestic.
 
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce)

Rees Lloyd on Stolen Valor Act: Judge With Shady Past Determines Whose Lies Are Protected

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal and most reversed circuit in the country, has further fueled the fire and ire of Americans claiming a modern “judicial tyranny,” by the 9th Circuit’s recent refusal to grant a rehearing of its prior decision declaring the Stolen Valor Act an unconstitutional violation of “freedom of speech” under the First Amendment, thus effectively creating a “right to lie” about military service and receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor. (US v. Alvarez, No. 08-50345, Order Denying Petition For Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc. March 21, 2011, accessible on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals website.).
The dissenting judges urged rehearing the Stolen Valor Act decision was wrongfully decided, and the resulting “right to lie” doctrine of the 9th Circuit imperils other laws criminalizing false speech. The dissenters point out, among other things, that the decision to declare the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional “on its face” because it does not require a showing of “harm” to someone else, itself flies in the face of many statutes penalizing pure speech which do not require proof that someone was harmed thereby. Included among the many examples cited, are false statements by illegal aliens regarding their right to be in the country which lies are presently punishable as crimes under federal statutes. (18 U.S. Code §1015(a), as Judge Bybee pointed out in his original dissent. Think of the 19 Saudi Islamist terrorists who lied their way into America and attacked us on 9-11-2001; or the 12-20 million illegal alien Mexicans and others in America right now living lies to remain. Will there lies which do not harm any particular individual now be a matter of “freedom of speech” and thus uttered with impunity?

See the rest here. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Rees Lloyd on Stolen Valor Act: Judge With Shady Past Determines Whose Lies Are Protected

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal and most reversed circuit in the country, has further fueled the fire and ire of Americans claiming a modern “judicial tyranny,” by the 9th Circuit’s recent refusal to grant a rehearing of its prior decision declaring the Stolen Valor Act an unconstitutional violation of “freedom of speech” under the First Amendment, thus effectively creating a “right to lie” about military service and receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor. (US v. Alvarez, No. 08-50345, Order Denying Petition For Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc. March 21, 2011, accessible on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals website.).
The dissenting judges urged rehearing the Stolen Valor Act decision was wrongfully decided, and the resulting “right to lie” doctrine of the 9th Circuit imperils other laws criminalizing false speech. The dissenters point out, among other things, that the decision to declare the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional “on its face” because it does not require a showing of “harm” to someone else, itself flies in the face of many statutes penalizing pure speech which do not require proof that someone was harmed thereby. Included among the many examples cited, are false statements by illegal aliens regarding their right to be in the country which lies are presently punishable as crimes under federal statutes. (18 U.S. Code §1015(a), as Judge Bybee pointed out in his original dissent. Think of the 19 Saudi Islamist terrorists who lied their way into America and attacked us on 9-11-2001; or the 12-20 million illegal alien Mexicans and others in America right now living lies to remain. Will there lies which do not harm any particular individual now be a matter of “freedom of speech” and thus uttered with impunity?

See the rest here. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

STOLEN VALOR = STOLEN CONSTITUTION By REES LLOYD

Victoria Taft had on her show on Friday (8/20/10) one of America’s greatest living military heroes, Major General Patrick Henry Brady (USA, ret.) Medal of Honor recipient as a “Dust Off” helicopter ambulance pilot in the Vietnam War. He is, among other things, a past president of the Medal of Honor Society,

Gen. Brady is also co-author, along with his daughter Meghan Brady Smith, herself an Army veteran and a Bronze Star recipient in the War Against Terrorism in Iraq, of the recently released book, “DEAD MEN FLYING: The Legend of Dust Off, America’s Battlefield Angels.” 
Gen. Brady appeared on the Victoria Taft Show to discuss, and object to, the recent decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal and the most reversed Circuit in the country, to nullify as an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment “freedom of speech,” the Stolen Valor Act (18 U.S. Code Section 704), which imposes criminal penalties for false claims of receipt of the Medal of Honor and other  medals of valor in military service.
That is,  two judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the third dissented), have effectively created a constitutional “right to lie.” 
 Thus, miscreant frauds are now possessed of a “First Amendment right” to knowingly and deliberately lie, and to deceive the public into believing, that they have not only served in defense of the nation in military service, but have received the Medal of Honor, and other medals of valor, by Act of Congress on behalf of a grateful nation.
There is no shortage of such miscreant frauds. Vietnam veteran B. Burkett has done a great public service in exposing hundreds of frauds, assisted by investigative journalist Glenna Whitley, in “Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History.”
The 2-to-1 decision nullifying the Stolen Valor Act and creating a “right to lie” for such frauds was rendered in the case known as U.S. vs. Xavier Alvarez, 9th Circuit Court of Appeal Case No. 08-50345, filed on August 17, 2010. [It is available on the Ninth Circuit website.] It was written by Judge Milan Dale Smith, Jr. (a lawyer who is a native of Pendleton, OR, but practiced law in Los Angeles), joined by Judge Thomas G. Nelson (the only one with military service, i.e., Army Reserve, 1965-1968).
Concisely stated, their majority decision holds the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because it punishes “speech,” i.e., lies about receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor, and does not require evidence that someone suffered legally cognizable “harm.
Judge Jay S. Bybee dissented in a detailed opinion. In it, he traces Supreme Court precedent establishing a general rule that false statements of fact i.e., “lies,” are not constitutionally protected speech unless they fall into exceptions to that general rule. He argues that the majority decision  reverses that rule, and creates a general rule that false statements, i.e., “lies,” are constitutionally protected speech unless they fall into exceptions rendering them unprotected.
Further, Judge Bybee warned that the new rule, an effective “right to lie,” has an impact far beyond the Stolen Valor Act. This  includes  possibly nullifying statutory prohibitions against illegal aliens making false statements about their status in the country or to obtain legal status.
That is,  Judge Bybee warned in dissent: “Numerous statutes are called into question by the majority’s opinion…statutes that punish false statements and do not appear to require proof of harm,” he wrote, citing, among others: “18 U.S.C. [Section] 1015(a) (punishing ‘any false statement under oath, in any case, proceeding, or matter relating to…naturalization, citizenship, or registry of aliens’)….”
The Stolen Valor Act decision overturned the conviction of Xavier Alvarez. He is a Democrat Party politician who was elected to the Three Valley Water District Board in San Bernardino County, CA. There he claimed to be a “retired marine” who had been “wounded” in combat and had been awarded the “Medal of Honor.”
He was originally exposed by a real former Marine, Melissa Campbell. She held a community relations job in which she came in contact with Alvarez, who regaled her with his tales of service in the Marines and receipt of the Medal of Honor. She was so impressed that she texted her husband how thrilled she was to be meeting with a Medal of Honor recipient. Her husband texted back that he had checked out Medal of Honor recipients on the internet, and there was no “Xavier Alvarez.” Former Marine Campbell then inquired of fake Marine Alvarez where he served,  arousing his suspicion that he was about to be exposed as a fraud. Alvarez, therefore, then used his Water Board position to have Campbell fired. That is, Alvarez complained to her employer that she had disrespected him, a member of the Water Board, by her questions. She was fired.
I became involved when I was contacted to provide pro bono representation to Campbell, and to verify whether Alvarez’ further claim on the Water Board website that he was a member of the American Legion was true. It was another lie. It was removed from the website after I threatened to sue. (While I agreed to represent Melissa Campbell pro bono over her wrongful discharge, she ultimately decided she did not want to sue for personal and familial reasons.)
He was represented at public expense by the Federal Public Defender. The ACLU supported his constitutional challenge to the Stolen Valor Act as a violation of “free speech.” The ACLU supported also a second challenge in a Colorado case which resulted in a District Court decision holding the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional.
Congress since 1948 has found that it is in the public interest to protect the reputation and meaning of the Medal of Honor – and to protect the public from being deceived – by criminal penalties against imposters who would falsely represent that they have received the Medal of Honor or other medals of valor. The Stolen Valor Act of 2006 is the latest enactment providing those protections. The 9th Circuit has now nullified the protections of the Stolen Valor Act  by finding a First Amendment “right to lie,” claiming no one is harmed by such lies, not even holders of the Medal of Honor.
Thus, miscreant cretins like Xavier Alvarez are now free to lie that they are among the most honored of American veterans, holders of the Medal of Honor. However, in Alvarez’ case, he will have to do it from his prison cell.  He was also convicted of unrelated fraudulent acts in his position as elected Water Board Director, and is currently doing time in prison for those corrupt acts.
Where does all this leave Maj. Gen. Pat Brady and all the other real American military heroes legitimately holding the Medal of Honor?
“I just can’t understand how anyone can believe that General George Washington and the Founding Fathers intended to create a First Amendment Constitutional ‘right to lie’ about military service and receiving the Medal of Honor or other medals of valor. It just defies common sense,”  General Brady said of the decision.
“I hope a way will be found by Congress, and the Executive Branch, to protect the meaning and integrity of the Medal of Honor, and other medals of valor, from abuse and exploitation by charlatans under this 9th Circuit decision,” he said.
Gen. Brady is one of only eight-eight (88) living recipients of the Medal of Honor, among more than 300-million Americans. We 300-million Americans owe to those 88 American holders of the Medal of Honor – and all of those who have received the Medal of Honor in all the wars – a debt beyond repayment.
The least we can do is to stand with them and demand that Congress act by emergency legislation or otherwise, and demand that the Executive branch act by litigation, to preserve the protections of the Stolen Valor Act, and to reject the notion of contemporary lawyers sitting as judges that the Founding Fathers intended to create in the First Amendment a constitutional “right to lie” about receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor.
[Rees Lloyd is a civil rights lawyer, a veteran, and a veterans activist, who is a Victoria Taft Blogger.]           

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

STOLEN VALOR = STOLEN CONSTITUTION By REES LLOYD

Victoria Taft had on her show on Friday (8/20/10) one of America’s greatest living military heroes, Major General Patrick Henry Brady (USA, ret.) Medal of Honor recipient as a “Dust Off” helicopter ambulance pilot in the Vietnam War. He is, among other things, a past president of the Medal of Honor Society,

Gen. Brady is also co-author, along with his daughter Meghan Brady Smith, herself an Army veteran and a Bronze Star recipient in the War Against Terrorism in Iraq, of the recently released book, “DEAD MEN FLYING: The Legend of Dust Off, America’s Battlefield Angels.” 
Gen. Brady appeared on the Victoria Taft Show to discuss, and object to, the recent decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal and the most reversed Circuit in the country, to nullify as an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment “freedom of speech,” the Stolen Valor Act (18 U.S. Code Section 704), which imposes criminal penalties for false claims of receipt of the Medal of Honor and other  medals of valor in military service.
That is,  two judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the third dissented), have effectively created a constitutional “right to lie.” 
 Thus, miscreant frauds are now possessed of a “First Amendment right” to knowingly and deliberately lie, and to deceive the public into believing, that they have not only served in defense of the nation in military service, but have received the Medal of Honor, and other medals of valor, by Act of Congress on behalf of a grateful nation.
There is no shortage of such miscreant frauds. Vietnam veteran B. Burkett has done a great public service in exposing hundreds of frauds, assisted by investigative journalist Glenna Whitley, in “Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History.”
The 2-to-1 decision nullifying the Stolen Valor Act and creating a “right to lie” for such frauds was rendered in the case known as U.S. vs. Xavier Alvarez, 9th Circuit Court of Appeal Case No. 08-50345, filed on August 17, 2010. [It is available on the Ninth Circuit website.] It was written by Judge Milan Dale Smith, Jr. (a lawyer who is a native of Pendleton, OR, but practiced law in Los Angeles), joined by Judge Thomas G. Nelson (the only one with military service, i.e., Army Reserve, 1965-1968).
Concisely stated, their majority decision holds the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because it punishes “speech,” i.e., lies about receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor, and does not require evidence that someone suffered legally cognizable “harm.
Judge Jay S. Bybee dissented in a detailed opinion. In it, he traces Supreme Court precedent establishing a general rule that false statements of fact i.e., “lies,” are not constitutionally protected speech unless they fall into exceptions to that general rule. He argues that the majority decision  reverses that rule, and creates a general rule that false statements, i.e., “lies,” are constitutionally protected speech unless they fall into exceptions rendering them unprotected.
Further, Judge Bybee warned that the new rule, an effective “right to lie,” has an impact far beyond the Stolen Valor Act. This  includes  possibly nullifying statutory prohibitions against illegal aliens making false statements about their status in the country or to obtain legal status.
That is,  Judge Bybee warned in dissent: “Numerous statutes are called into question by the majority’s opinion…statutes that punish false statements and do not appear to require proof of harm,” he wrote, citing, among others: “18 U.S.C. [Section] 1015(a) (punishing ‘any false statement under oath, in any case, proceeding, or matter relating to…naturalization, citizenship, or registry of aliens’)….”
The Stolen Valor Act decision overturned the conviction of Xavier Alvarez. He is a Democrat Party politician who was elected to the Three Valley Water District Board in San Bernardino County, CA. There he claimed to be a “retired marine” who had been “wounded” in combat and had been awarded the “Medal of Honor.”
He was originally exposed by a real former Marine, Melissa Campbell. She held a community relations job in which she came in contact with Alvarez, who regaled her with his tales of service in the Marines and receipt of the Medal of Honor. She was so impressed that she texted her husband how thrilled she was to be meeting with a Medal of Honor recipient. Her husband texted back that he had checked out Medal of Honor recipients on the internet, and there was no “Xavier Alvarez.” Former Marine Campbell then inquired of fake Marine Alvarez where he served,  arousing his suspicion that he was about to be exposed as a fraud. Alvarez, therefore, then used his Water Board position to have Campbell fired. That is, Alvarez complained to her employer that she had disrespected him, a member of the Water Board, by her questions. She was fired.
I became involved when I was contacted to provide pro bono representation to Campbell, and to verify whether Alvarez’ further claim on the Water Board website that he was a member of the American Legion was true. It was another lie. It was removed from the website after I threatened to sue. (While I agreed to represent Melissa Campbell pro bono over her wrongful discharge, she ultimately decided she did not want to sue for personal and familial reasons.)
He was represented at public expense by the Federal Public Defender. The ACLU supported his constitutional challenge to the Stolen Valor Act as a violation of “free speech.” The ACLU supported also a second challenge in a Colorado case which resulted in a District Court decision holding the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional.
Congress since 1948 has found that it is in the public interest to protect the reputation and meaning of the Medal of Honor – and to protect the public from being deceived – by criminal penalties against imposters who would falsely represent that they have received the Medal of Honor or other medals of valor. The Stolen Valor Act of 2006 is the latest enactment providing those protections. The 9th Circuit has now nullified the protections of the Stolen Valor Act  by finding a First Amendment “right to lie,” claiming no one is harmed by such lies, not even holders of the Medal of Honor.
Thus, miscreant cretins like Xavier Alvarez are now free to lie that they are among the most honored of American veterans, holders of the Medal of Honor. However, in Alvarez’ case, he will have to do it from his prison cell.  He was also convicted of unrelated fraudulent acts in his position as elected Water Board Director, and is currently doing time in prison for those corrupt acts.
Where does all this leave Maj. Gen. Pat Brady and all the other real American military heroes legitimately holding the Medal of Honor?
“I just can’t understand how anyone can believe that General George Washington and the Founding Fathers intended to create a First Amendment Constitutional ‘right to lie’ about military service and receiving the Medal of Honor or other medals of valor. It just defies common sense,”  General Brady said of the decision.
“I hope a way will be found by Congress, and the Executive Branch, to protect the meaning and integrity of the Medal of Honor, and other medals of valor, from abuse and exploitation by charlatans under this 9th Circuit decision,” he said.
Gen. Brady is one of only eight-eight (88) living recipients of the Medal of Honor, among more than 300-million Americans. We 300-million Americans owe to those 88 American holders of the Medal of Honor – and all of those who have received the Medal of Honor in all the wars – a debt beyond repayment.
The least we can do is to stand with them and demand that Congress act by emergency legislation or otherwise, and demand that the Executive branch act by litigation, to preserve the protections of the Stolen Valor Act, and to reject the notion of contemporary lawyers sitting as judges that the Founding Fathers intended to create in the First Amendment a constitutional “right to lie” about receipt of the Medal of Honor and other medals of valor.
[Rees Lloyd is a civil rights lawyer, a veteran, and a veterans activist, who is a Victoria Taft Blogger.]           

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